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Articles from 2009 In July

Fertilizer Prices Edge Higher

Prices on most fertilizers crept higher this week on international markets, as seasonal buying continues to increase demand after last year's tumultuous roller coaster.

While many producers around the world cut back on purchases in the face of record prices last year, supplies still seem to be more than adequate, keeping costs from spiraling higher. So far forward contracts for fall in the wholesale market aren't showing any huge increases from the current spot level.

To read Bryce Knorr's complete weekly fertilizer review, click HERE.

Peterson and Frank Complete Derivatives Legislation Outline

Peterson and Frank Complete Derivatives Legislation Outline

The Chairmen of the House Financial Services and Agriculture Committees have released a concept paper to guide the development of legislation to regulate derivatives. Ag Chair Collin Peterson, D-Minn., says he's pleased he and Financial Services Chair Barney Frank were able to come to agreement on several principles with regard to OTC derivatives reform. He says they've come up with a responsible approach that bridges the differences between those looking to completely eliminate the over-the-counter market and those who believe greater transparency is all that is needed. He says neither of those approaches is a real solution but what he and Frank have developed is.


According to Frank the fundamental purpose is to improve the regulation of derivatives so they continue to perform their important market function but are less likely to contribute to a kind of irresponsibility that can cause a crisis. He says banning or severely diminishing them as an economic instrument is not a desired outcome noting the Ag Committee represents end users for whom they are very important and the Financial Services Committee deals with a lot of financial institutions.


Peterson says the concept paper gives members of both committees time to review and develop ideas, suggestions, thoughts and comments while preparing to tackle the issues when Congress returns in September.


To view the text of the concept paper, visit the Ag Committee Web site at

The Joker Has Arrived

The Joker Has Arrived

Horsch Anderson's shallow tillage disc is called the Joker and provides an all-purpose tool for min-till management.


The machine comes in widths of 13 to 25 feet and features a heavy-built frame with 18-inch notched blades mounted in independent pairs on torsion bars. Behind that is a newly-design packing system for soil firming behind the machine.


The Joker operates at more than 10 miles per hour in most conditions and can be used for stubble cultivation, manure incorporation, residue sizing and mixing, and for seedbed preparation.


For more information, visit, or call (605) 298-5663.

CCX770 Cob Harvester New from Vermeer

CCX770 Cob Harvester New from Vermeer

With increasing uses for corn cobs and cellulose from corn, Vermeer has introduced the CCX770 cob harvester to tow behind corn combines to catch the residue on-site.


With an unloader designed much like cotton strippers in the south, the CCX770 is a wagon-style cob collection system, with its own powerplant, built at Vermeer's Pella, Iowa, facility.


The CCX770 automatically separates husks and leaves for deposit on the field for cover and holds up to four tons of material which it can unload in 90 seconds.


For more information on the CCX770, visit

New Holland boosts power for twin-rotor small-frame combine

New Holland boosts power for twin-rotor small-frame combine

New Holland dropped the 10.3L 6 cylinder diesel from it's CR9070 model into the CR9060 and created the CR9065 for 2010, providing more power for the small-frame 17-inch twin rotor combine.


The CR9065 boasts 463 horsepower and a 315-bushel grain tank to expand the existing four-model 9000 Series to five. The twin rotor system in the 9000 Series is a high speed design for more centrifugal force in harvesting than competitors, and the additional power will allow the operator to work with green-stem beans and moist field conditions.


For more information on the new CR9065, click on

Hike in Milk Price Supports Urged by Senators

Dairy prices are projected to hit bottom later this year, a bottom that according to USDA will be the lowest annual average price since 1979. World Ag Outlook Board Chair Gerry Bange expects a stronger price next year. But how many producers will still be in business then without help? Dairy-state Senators say help is coming. They say Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack has agreed to temporarily raise milk price supports. 

A group of 23 Senators hope to move things along. They have sent a letter to White House Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag urging him to act promptly to approve the plan. Senator Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., says the problem is nationwide and dairy prices must be raised, but the move is classified as a short-term solution.

From January through April of this year the all-milk price averaged $4.80 per hundredweight below the U.S. average cash cost of production. Industry officials estimate dairy farmers currently are losing $100 per cow per month.

Blue Dog Agreement Defended by Speaker

The House Energy and Commerce Committee resumed its markup of health care reform Thursday as Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., defended the deal struck with some of the panel's conservative Democrats. Pelosi rejected criticism that she had given the Blue Dogs too much influence over the process. She said she doesn't think there is any disproportionate influence when members speak out in favor of their own constituents.

Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said in some respects he believes the deal with the Blue Dogs improved the bill. But he conceded that Democrats have been losing the message war over the health bill with Republicans hammering away relentlessly at the measure's costs and claiming it would lead to a government takeover of health care. Hoyer predicts Democrats will regain lost ground in the public relations war during the August recess as they explain to constituents what the health bill would mean to them.

Meanwhile Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack was in Nashville, Tenn. Thursday hosting a health care roundtable designed to discuss the Obama Administration's commitment to addressing the skyrocketing cost of health care and the importance of acting quickly to achieve real reform. Vilsack stressed the need for healthcare reform in rural America where families often have less access to providers, are more likely to be uninsured and pay more out of pocket than their urban counterparts.

Vilsack said the time has come to pass reform legislation that will reduce the soaring cost of health care and ensure that every American can access the health care they deserve. According to Vilsack reform will bring stability and security to all Americans who no longer will have to fear losing health coverage if they lose or switch jobs, become seriously ill or have a pre-existing medical condition. Vilsack pledged that under health insurance reform - nothing would get between patients' and doctors' decisions about what care is best. Not the government and not insurance companies.

Rural Businesses Receive Billions in Assistance

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced that USDA is accepting applications for up to $1.7 billion in funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for projects to help create business activity and economic growth in rural communities. Vilsack said the funds will help businesses get access to the capital they need to launch and expand their businesses and help bring additional jobs to America's small cities and towns. Applications will be accepted until Sept. 15, 2010 or until all funds are spent. More information can be found at or by contacting your state Rural Development office.

Vilsack also announced the selection of $58.1 million in community facilities projects being funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Nearly $179.6 million in funding has been announced since February. Vilsack said rural communities are important to the life blood of the nation and the Obama administration is committed to keeping them strong by providing funding for facilities such as day care centers, public buildings and community centers that improve the quality of life in these communities.

Sign-Up Begins for Biomass Support Program

Farm Service Agency Administrator Jonathan Coppess says biomass conversion facilities can begin signing up to participate in the Biomass Crop Assistance Program which will help increase production of renewable energy. The program, authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill, provides financial assistance to producers who deliver eligible material to biomass conversion facilities and FSA will provide financial assistance to collect, harvest, store and transport eligible materials.

Once an agreement is signed between FSA and a facility and funding through the program is provided, the facilities can begin accepting materials. The matching CHST payments are paid at a rate of $1 for $1 per dry-ton equivalent received from a qualified biomass conversion facility, not to exceed $45 per dry-ton equivalent. A biomass owner is eligible to receive payments for two years.

Biomass conversion facilities and material owners or producers should contact their FSA state offices or visit for more information.